Stanley Black & Decker and Pillo Health Launches Pill-Dispensing Robot Companion
Pillo Health and Stanley Black & Decker have officially debuted their voice-activated robotic companion, Pria for the commercial market. Pria is designed to help those with chronic conditions maintain their medication schedule and health using a built-in voice assistant to communicate with patients and caregivers.
Vocal Medicine Reminders
At its core, the Pria device is essentially a smart display with a pill dispenser. Using an associated mobile app, Pria can schedule up to 28 doses of medication, remind the user when it’s time to take the meds and dispense the correct amount of each medication. Pria can interact with its owner by voice or through the touch screen. It also updates caregivers on the health of its owner, for instance letting the caregivers know if the owner has taken their medicine. The device also has a built-in camera and facial recognition software so that it can identify that the person taking the meds is the one who is supposed to. Users can also use the camera to have two-way video chats with caregivers or family.
“We are catering to chronic condition caregivers and people with chronic conditions,” said Pillo Health co-founder and CEO Emanuele Musini to Voicebot in an interview. “In this case, the primary buyer is a caregiver who is caring for someone taking multiple medications and does not leave home. Caregivers can monitor the health of a loved one remotely, and make sure they are okay.”
The voice assistant built into Pria can also answer other questions for the user. While not a comprehensive database like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, Pria can still answer questions about things like measurements and can inform the user about the weather. Pria is priced at $750 with a $10 a month subscription but is currently doing an introductory offer of $600 and six months free subscription.
Pria is the culmination of a partnership between Pillo and Stanley Black & Decker first announced at CES in January when an early version of Pria was introduced by Stanley Black & Decker. Pillo Health was developing a device on its own last year, but Pria’s final form is the result of the two companies collaborating in applying Pillo’s technology platform to the hardware built by Stanley Black & Decker. Though the available version is complete and ready to operate, Musini said his team is still working on iterating and improving Pria’s software and hardware in anticipation of future needs.
“The Pillo health device is very much the base platform,” Musini said. “For the [launch] version, we’ve worked closely with Stanley Black & Decker to audit the manufacturing standards for commercial release. We will be sending out software updates about once a month and are planning to layer a pharmacy service on top of the software. We are also coming up with new hardware like an improved microprocessor for [future versions of] Pria.”
Pillo Health closed an $11 million funding round in June led by Stanley Ventures, the corporate venture capital fund within Stanley Black & Decker. The round catapulted Pillo to $17 million in funding and was clearly part of the larger plan by the two companies to work together.
Smart Health Device Race
Pria is entering a market with a variety of competitive options. For instance, State Farm launched a new Amazon Alexa skill to help with senior care, using the voice assistant to connect caregivers with older people who live alone. Pria’s most direct competition, however, may be LifePod, a startup that developed a proactive virtual caregiver in the form of a unique iHome smart speaker. Like Pria, LifePod is designed for improving the care and support of aging or socially isolated people. The voice assistant built into the device can initiate conversations with its owner about health routines and keep caregivers updated in real-time. Still, Pillo stands alone in its particular approach right now, according to Musini.
“Pria is the first direct-to-consumer device of its kind,” Musini said. “Various companies are trying to enter the home through healthcare devices but none are offering what [Pria] can do.”
The pill-dispensing element in tandem with the rest of the system may help Pria stand out as people start becoming more comfortable with integrating AI into how they care for their loved ones. Using voice assistants and smart devices for this purpose is easy for people to understand, Musini said, and the growing number of people using voice assistants is encouraging for Pria’s prospects.
“We want adults with chronic conditions who want to stay in their home to do so but with an improved quality of life,” Musini said. “That’s what Pria is for.”